I’m always on the alert for adaptive solutions people employ to meet their needs. Several have stood out over the years.
When my father began experiencing dementia, unable to remember directions, he could no longer take the bike rides he’d enjoyed for decades. Instead of giving up on exercise, he began taking yoga classes several times a week. I once asked Dad what he liked about yoga. He explained that he felt a sense of accomplishment when he mastered a pose. This mastery enhanced his sense of self-worth, in and out of the yoga studio, as he slowly lost his cognitive abilities. Dad replaced an exercise regimen he loved with another that made him feel good about himself. I thought this was one of the smartest things I’d ever heard. As my body changes, I will remember how Dad coped, try to be mindful of what I’m still able to accomplish, and focus on that.
I knew I was getting old when the highlight of my week was being fit for custom-made orthotics. In 2016 I’d developed painful plantar fasciitis in my right foot. With proper exercises to stretch my foot, and store-bought orthotics, my foot healed. In 2018 I developed even more severe plantar fasciitis in my other foot. The store-bought orthotics, recommended by my podiatrist, and the prescribed exercises failed to produce much improvement. Even though I’d have to pay for them out of pocket, after half a dozen months in pain, I made the appointment for custom-made orthotics.
I guess I could be blue that my body doesn’t work as well as it once did. Instead I’m thrilled that there’s a product to ease my pain, and help is on the way. It will be worth every penny. I am getting old, but it beats the alternative.
While visiting my stepmother recently, we went to the drugstore to buy her toilet paper. Suzy had a particular brand she liked, while I prefer a different one. Standing in front of the paper goods we discussed our preferences. I laughed and observed, We know we’re getting older when both of us care this much about toilet paper. My wonderful stepmother did not disagree.
In my teens, complete strangers began to approach me and compliment my skin. It happened fairly regularly—several times a year for decades. Women in ladies’ rooms, people in checkout lines, and others I met randomly felt compelled to compliment me. I thanked those strangers but always found the compliments odd. They used words like flawless and perfect to describe my complexion. But I couldn’t see the difference between my skin and the skin of most other people.
Now that I’m in my mid-fifties, I find my skin is aging. It’s beginning to sag, and liver spots are appearing. I pine for my youthful skin. But there are other parts of my body that have yet to show age. My calves look like they did when I exercised rigorously in my thirties. I neither understood nor appreciated my youthful good skin, but my legs are holding up well. I’m going to wear shorts and knee-length skirts until everything begins to sag. There’s nothing wrong with showing signs of age, but I’m going to make a point to appreciate what’s left of my youthful body for as long as it lasts.